Is Garuda Indonesia’s Eco-Basic ticket right for you?


Airlines are always competing to offer the cheapest tickets, but is the subclass experience worth it? Source: Shutterstock

SINCE commercial aviation took off in the late fifties, airlines have been looking for ways to cut costs and fly more passengers.

Whether it’s taking an olive out of the salad or reducing seat widths to cram more people in, the imagination of airline bosses keeps evolving.

Another way of reducing costs and ensuring passengers don’t expect any frills is by offering basic-budget-economy tickets.

Yep, these tickets are even cheaper than the standard economy class choices readily available on most airlines.

The big US airlines – Delta, American, and United – have also introduced this type of ticket. And now, Indonesia’s national carrier has launched its Eco-Basic subclass tickets.

According to Garuda Indonesia, the Eco-Basic tickets will sell for around 15 to 20 percent cheaper than standard economy class tickets.

The purpose is to entice those who wouldn’t typically be able to afford airfares and increase passenger numbers on each flight.

“It (the new class) is expected to add SLF (seat occupancy rate) to 10 percent of each route,” Garuda Indonesia Service Director Nicodemus P. Lampe said in a statement.

But there are restrictions with it that some frequent flyers may not like.

Here’s everything you need to know about the new Eco-Basic ticket:

Only available on specific planes

For the time being, Garuda Indonesia will only be issuing Eco-Basic tickets on its ATR 72-600 and CRJ 1000 NextGen planes.

For the benefit of aviation amateurs, these planes are manufactured by Bombardier. The ATR 72-600 are twin-propeller planes while the CRJ 1000 NextGen is a regional aircraft with two jet engines near the tail.

What are the Eco-Basic routes?

There will be 44 Eco-Basic routes available to passengers; the exact routes are yet to be confirmed.

First come, first served

Garuda Indonesia CEO Pahala Mansury told The Jakarta Post the Eco-Basic seats would be limited to 12 per flight on selected routes.

No children allowed

The Eco-Basic tickets are reserved for adults only. If parents are flying with children, they will not receive a child discount.

Adults flying with babies under 23 months old will also not be able to purchase the Eco-Basic ticket.

Travel light

Those flying on an Eco-Basic ticket will not be able to use the overhead lockers or book extra luggage.

An allowance for a 20kg carry-on is permitted, but it must be able to fit under the seat in front.

No dietary requirements allowed

Garuda Indonesia isn’t going to starve you, but a condition of the ticket means flyers can’t request special meals.

Get to the airport early

Although flyers on the Eco-Basic ticket don’t have any bags to drop off, they can only check-in at the airport.

It’s advisable to get there early to avoid long queues.

No premium priority

It’s likely Eco-Basic tickets holders will be the last to board. Even if they’re members of Garuda Indonesia’s reward program, they will not be able to access VIP lounges.

Perhaps the only upside to these cheap tickets is the premium amount of smugness a flyer will get. After all, they’re going to the same destination as everyone else on the flight, for a fraction of the cost.